3Roots San Diego
The Vision: A 412-acre former gravel quarry in Mira Mesa could become a master-planned community with 1,800 residential units, 120,000 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of office space, and a 23-acre community park. It’s being touted as an energy-efficient, public-transportation-friendly place where millennials could reside to be closer to work in North County, rather than enduring a commute from downtown.
The Players: The owner is Texas-based Lehigh Hanson, a subsidiary of HeidelbergCementGroup.
The Wrinkle: Community planners want the public parkland to be a high priority in the project, considering how barren the land is now. Traffic is another big consideration—the hope is that the new project will incorporate bike trails and a transit center for buses, shuttles, and ride-hailing services.
The Endgame: The environmental review will proceed through 2018, with a city council vote expected in 2019. Construction could run from 2021 to 2025.
The Vision: Mission Valley’s Riverwalk Golf Course is getting a total reboot as a master-planned community with up to 4,000 housing units, up to 1 million square feet of office space, a new trolley stop, and an 80-acre park.
The Players: The Levi-Cushman family, who owns this 200-acre plot, is working with Houston-based developer Hines to take the proposed project through the San Diego City Council approval process over the next several years.
The Wrinkle: Community workshops about the project will no doubt vet concerns about increased density and more traffic. Also, this area along the San Diego River is infamously flood-prone.
The Endgame: The golf course is expected to stay in business until construction starts in 2021. The residences could be ready for occupancy by late 2022.
Revamped UTC mall
The Vision: Westfield UTC is barely recognizable as the neighborhood shopping mall it once was. Open throughout its multistage transformation, the University City center is becoming a “resort-style” concept, with upscale boutiques, outdoor plazas and dining, gardens, water features, and high-end finishes. The property will soon also include housing, a first for the retail conglomerate.
The Players: Sydney-based Westfield Corp. owns the property.
The Wrinkle: Parking off of Genesee Avenue has been closed amid construction, while surrounding streets have felt some traffic impact. Anticipated traffic congestion in the community has prompted the construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley, an extension of the MTS blue line that could be ready for service by 2021.
The Endgame: The first phase of the Westfield UTC face-lift was completed in 2012. Now it’s nearing completion with a new 149,000-square-foot, two-level Nordstrom anchor store; 90 new shops in 251,000 square feet of additional retail space; a new five-level parking structure, and a new valet drop-off spot. Next up: 300 residential units in two apartment towers on the southwest corner of the property, which could open in late 2019.
UC San Diego Extension’s new downtown campus
The Vision: UCSD is expanding its campus to downtown’s East Village with the Park & Market project. The 66,000-square-foot urban complex is billed as an “innovative cultural and educational hub,” with a mix of office and classroom space and an adjoining apartment tower with 426 units, an outdoor amphitheater, a restaurant, and underground parking.
The Players: UCSD is working with developer Holland Partner Group. Carrier Johnson + Culture designed the housing tower.
The Wrinkle: Housing affordability in San Diego can be an obstacle for college students and urbanites alike. The residential portion of the project is set to include 341 market-rate apartments and 85 low-income units.
The Endgame: Completion is expected in late 2020 or early 2021.
Seaport Village overhaul
The Vision: The Port of San Diego has big plans for the redevelopment of the central Embarcadero area, which includes the 14-acre shopping and dining tourist attraction Seaport Village. The new “Seaport San Diego” concept includes shopping, dining, hotel lodging, a movie theater, an aquarium, a charter school, and “The Spire”—a
futuristic 500-foot observation tower with glass elevators that carry visitors up the exterior of the twisting structure.
The Players: The Port picked a partnership called 1HWY1 to tackle the pivotal redevelopment project. The partnership is managed by Protea Waterfront Development, with marina advisor RCI Group, and attraction concepts by ThrillCorp and OdySea.
The Wrinkle: The size of the project and all the design, planning, and permitting means Seaport San Diego is still years from inception. Meanwhile, the current lease with TRC (formerly known as Terramar Retail Centers) for operation of Seaport Village expires in September 2018. To bridge the gap between maintaining the existing 1980s complex and new construction, the Port will become the property’s landlord and will consider proposals for an interim management and operation company.
The Endgame: The Port will hear presentations for an interim Seaport Village operator in December, possibly to manage the retail and restaurant tenants there for another five years. The revised master plan for Seaport San Diego could be presented to the Port by the end of 2018.
An Honorable Development
Alexandria is also redeveloping and donating a Carmel Valley property to be the new national headquarters for The Honor Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping smooth the transition into civilian life for Navy SEALs and other special operations forces. Alexandria usually sticks to life sciences and tech campuses, but Executive Vice President Daniel Ryan says the build-out of The Honor Foundation’s headquarters was “a token of our gratitude for the courage, dedication, and sacrifice that our elite forces demonstrate, without hesitation, every day, in defense of our country.” Plans for The Honor Foundation’s new home include conference, event, and coworking spaces, and a recreational area.